Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Kindness of Strangers

Last Monday I was sitting in my favorite little French cafe........
OK, it's really La Madeline and it's down the block, but since I am in denial about so many other things right now let's just add this to the list.  Anyway, I had my lunch and was sitting at a small table directly across from an elderly gentleman also sitting alone.  We sat in silence across from one another; neither one of us paying particular attention to anyone or anything around us.  And other than to node briefly in acknowledgment to him, we did not interact. I had just finished my soup (La Mad's has the BEST tomato basil soup by the way), when he got up from his table to leave.  He quietly walked over to me and said " Please don't be afraid.  I am not a dirty old man or anything like that, but I wanted to tell you how pretty you are and what impeccable manners you have.  It has been a pleasure to sit across from you during my lunch".  OK, before you think that I am an egotistical narcissistic snot who wants to tell the world how pretty she is, that is not the point of this story.  I'm not and don't think I am.  So read on.
Before I could say anything in response he walked out the side door and I was left staring into the space where he had stood.  I was totally taken back by how sweet this man had been to someone he did not know and knew nothing about.  And how he had managed to save my entire day with just a kind phrase.
You see, Monday had been an incredibly bad day for me.  (I am currently going through a rather not-so-pleasant moment in life and have been rather low.)  I had received yet another rather depressing round of "thank you for applying but we are going with a more qualified candidate" letters, was rejected for a job at Starbucks (seriously!!) and lost my favorite sweater in a horrible washing machine accident that is still too painful to talk about.  I had gone to La Madeline's in an attempt to feel somewhat normal again.  Outside of the waiter taking my order at the lunch counter, no one had spoken to me all day.  This gentleman knew nothing about me or what has been going on in my life; yet he took a small moment to stop and say something pleasant.  For all the kevtching I do and all the negative attitude I throw around, he reminded me of one thing that I had read years ago:
That People Really Are Good At Heart


Vanessa said...

Sometimes its the kindness of strangers that can mean the most. I always look at moments like this as a random act of kindness / pay it forward moment. You never know what people are going through. Like you, probably no one would have looked at you and from the outside guessed what you were feeling inside. Good luck with the job search. The perfect one is out there somewhere waiting for you.

Abbie said...

This is so sweet. Reading your blogs today is really lifting.

Sorry for leaving so many comments, i'm not used to just reading and sneaking away.